guest blogger: Kim

This is a blog from one of my dearest friends, Kim.  She turns 27 today!!!

Kim and I still aren’t exactly sure how or when we became friends, but it was through mutual friends that neither of us are as close to as we are to each other – here, 8ish years later.
Kim and her husband Dave have been married 2 1/2 years, have a silly 6-toed cat, Mosie, and are expecting their first child, a son, in August.

I love Kim because of her always-ready ability to crack a one-liner and find the irony in any situation.  I am so grateful for her companionship, confidentiality, and challenge she’s never afraid to offer.  She is a woman after God’s own heart living in a marriage seeking His kingdom’s work that is inspiring to Joel and I.  She’s beautiful, confident, determined, joyful, and blessing to have as a friend!
I tend to be too sappy with these intros.
Did I mention she runs like a madwoman?  Still, at almost 5 months pregnant?!  Well, read on about it…

I love running. I love running in all forms – training runs, racing runs, running with friends, running by myself, long runs, short runs, fast runs, slow runs, runs that work out stress and emotion, runs that leave me really tired. Sometimes I have runs that don’t feel the best and sometimes I can get burned out from too much running and have to take a break. But when it all comes down to it, I LOVE running. I feel strong when I run and connected to my body. After runs I feel more put together, relaxed, and mentally stable. But getting started with running can be hard. Really hard! Here are a couple things I think are important to know to get you started (and keep you going!):
Run/walk: Starting running can be daunting… and difficult! You might not even be able to run one mile continually, and that’s okay. But it can also be discouraging, feeling like you’re barely running anything. Start by running and walking. It’ll give you time to recover from the running bouts, but will still get your body used to running in general. Try running for 3 minutes, walking for 1. As you can, increase how many minutes you’re running in between the walk breaks.

Start slow: Don’t look at your pace when you first start running – just run to run. A good pace is one where you can talk while you run. Not “talk a mile a minute/chatty Cathy”, but you should be able to hold a small conversation as you run. If you’re gasping for air every other word, you’re probably pushing it too fast. Don’t be discouraged by your speed. The more you run, the faster you’ll get. It takes time.

Get fitted for shoes: If you’re just starting running, get the right shoes! This will make a huge difference in how your body and your feet will feel. Find a running store that will videotape you running on a treadmill (This is a complimentary service. Three Rivers Running in Fort Wayne is a great store or The Running Company in Indianapolis is also awesome.). They’ll then evaluate how you run – how your foot falls, if you pronate, your foot shape, etc. The right shoe will provide you with the right support in the right areas. And a shoe that fits won’t leave you with blisters and a sore foot. I got fitted for my first pair of shoes and have just bought the same shoe (in updated models) every year since. I rarely get blisters or sore feet.

Running form: Running form is really important in keeping your body healthy and helping you have the best run possible. If you cross your arms in front of your chest, you might end up with a really bad side stitch. If you run trying to take the longest strides possible, you might have knee or ankle pain. Proper running form helps you feel your best while you’re running. Ideally, you want to have good, upright posture. Your arms should swing loosely by your sides, hands grazing your hips. Your foot should land under your hips – not out in front. It’s better to take small, short steps than long, bounding steps. You’ll also want to try to land more on your midfoot than the heel. (See here for a great illustration and article about running form.)

Enjoy the run: Make the run FUN! If you’re not enjoying running, you’re probably not going to stick with it. Find what makes it fun for YOU. Is it new music on your ipod? A book on CD? Podcast downloads from NPR? Maybe it’s no music at all – just being alone, listening to your breathing and your feet. Maybe you like the competitive edge – pushing yourself a little further every time. Whatever it is, find what you love about running. And if you genuinely just don’t love it and can’t love it, find what you do love! Maybe it’s walking or biking or tennis or the elliptical. Just find what works for you – you’ll stick with something you really love.
When it all comes down to it, running is about what works for you. You don’t have to run as fast as someone else or as far. You don’t have to run a certain number of days a week or a certain number of minutes. Just find what works for you, what makes you feel your best! And if you do start running and love it, come tell me about it! I would love to hear about it!

Submit your running: Once you start running it’s easy to get consumed with the numbers – how far you’ve gone, how fast, your total mileage, if you beat last week’s time, if you beat last month’s mileage, etc. Submit your running to God and let Him use it the way he wants to. For me, God used running to connect me in a positive way to my body and to help build my self-confidence. It’ll look different for everyone, but make sure you’re running for the right reasons! God wants to use all things to help build and grow us!


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